Seek Advice and Review Your Rights
Law enforcement officers intimidate many people. Today we hear stories of police misconduct and police brutality, and this causes many people to distrust the police. But entering into a police encounter with this attitude can work against your interests. You have a certain duty to cooperate with law enforcement, and you can face criminal charges for resisting an executive officer or obstructing justice if you fail to do so. You also have rights when it comes to giving statements to the police. That being said, it is very important you understand what will happen if you give a statement to the police and what your rights are when being asked to do so.
First, you should know that you do not have to provide a statement to the police. If you are being detained or arrested, or are in custody, you do not have to answer questions that could be self-incriminating. If you have any questions about what information you are required to provide and what information could be self-incriminating, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney before you provide a statement to the police. Beyond any necessary identifying information, such as giving your name and address, you should say as little as possible until you speak with an attorney.
Any statement you provide to the police could be held against you, even if you believe you aren't guilty. You have the right to remain silent when asked to provide a statement, and you should always exercise this right. Whatever you say will be included in a police report. You cannot make any casual remarks or give an informal statement to law enforcement. Everything you say will be included in a sworn report from the police and can be treated as evidence in a criminal case.
Along those same lines, you never know what could get you in trouble. When confused, stressed, or intimidated, you could end up answering a leading question or providing information that can incidentally land you in trouble. Also, it is a crime to provide false information to a police officer, so think twice before you say anything misleading or false purposefully. The bottom line is almost anything you say when under investigation from the police can hurt you.
Police reports are authoritative documents. A police report is permanent and can be used in many ways, chiefly when filing criminal charges and prosecuting a criminal defendant. The police report that includes your statement can be referred to at any point down the road. When it comes to providing a statement that can come back to haunt you later, you should review your rights so you can make an educated decision on what to say and what not to say. As a general rule of thumb, anything that will be put in a permanent document should be carefully considered.
Providing statements to the police should not be taken lightly. You need to protect your rights because the police won't necessarily respect them. Know your rights and obligations, seek legal advice, and always think before you speak. If you have provided a statement to the police and feel your rights were not respected or you were not advised of your rights, you should consult with an attorney. Evidence obtained during an interrogation is unlawfully obtained if the defendant was not properly read his or her rights. An attorney may be able to suppress any unlawfully obtained evidence in your case.
Speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney if you are under investigation by the police, have been arrested, or are facing charges. The statements you provide to the police can be held against you, and it may not be in your best interests to say anything at all. Regardless of the facts at hand or your involvement in the incident under investigation, you should heavily consider everything you say. Speaking with an attorney can give you an idea of the scope of your rights and responsibilities. An attorney can also advise you of the consequences of providing a statement to the police including how your statement might be held against you.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have questions about your rights, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. California criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to defend your rights and help you fight any charges you may face. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.